Manitoba is the first province to completely remove the age restriction for these live-saving diabetes devices
March 7, 2023 – Manitoba – On March 7, 2023, the government of Manitoba announced that it was investing $120 million in the Manitoba Pharmacare program in part to expand coverage of diabetes devices like insulin pumps and glucose monitors. The province said it will be expanding the program to include all adults who have been diagnosed with type 1 and type 2 diabetes and have a prescription. Prior to this investment, coverage for pumps in Manitoba stopped at age 18 and coverage for advanced glucose monitors stopped at age 25. This announcement comes after significant advocacy from the Manitoba T1D community, with support from JDRF Canada.
JDRF’s #AccessForAll advocacy campaign aims to make T1D technology affordable and accessible for all Canadians living with the disease. The goal is to reduce the out-of-pocket costs for these technologies and improve access for Canadians with T1D.
An estimated 6,800 people in Manitoba have T1D. Living with T1D means managing the disease through frequent checking of blood glucose levels, regular infusions of insulin, either by injection or through an insulin pump, and carefully adjusting each dose to balance against carbohydrate consumption and activity levels. And even with the most careful management, people with T1D can experience significant diabetes-related complications including kidney disease, blindness, amputation and even death.
With coverage of both insulin pumps and CGMs expanding, those living with T1D and can take advantage of integrations for a hybrid-closed loop (HCL) system, which acts as an artificial pancreas. An HCL system is any insulin pump able to automatically deliver basal insulin by using an algorithm and real-time CGM sensor glucose trends.
“JDRF Canada is thrilled with this announcement out of Manitoba, which is now a leading province in terms of coverage of type 1 diabetes devices. As we all know, type 1 diabetes does not end at age 25. It is a relentless, lifelong, chronic disease that requires continual self-management to survive. We applaud the Government of Manitoba for recognizing this and the value of innovation in technology such as hybrid closed loop systems and supporting everyone in the province living with type 1 diabetes. Coverage of this critical technology will enable everyone living with type 1 diabetes, to live the healthiest, safest, and easiest lives possible,” says Dave Prowten, President and CEO of JDRF Canada.
T1D self-management is simplified and improved through technologies such as insulin pumps, which allow a person to give themselves insulin as needed and with greater control, and CGMs which provide real-time readings that help to improve overall blood glucose (HbA1C) levels and time in target range (TIR). Both can help to keep people out of hospital and reduce the potential for longer-term complications. They also help to relieve some of the anxiety that surrounds the disease and allow people with T1D to better plan exercise, meals, and rest.
In 2022, JDRF commissioned a cost effectiveness study that demonstrated that provincial coverage of diabetes devices, while a higher near-term investment, generates significant long-term cost savings due to lower costs of complications, potential hospitalization, and additional medical interventions.
Access for All was launched in 2019 and has already driven major change. Working with powerful voices from across the country, the power of grassroots organization and advocacy has led to several provinces and territories revisiting their coverage and expanding access.
“My insulin pump takes some of the burden of diabetes away. It helps keep my blood sugar in range, allows me the freedom to be active and allows me the freedom of not taking multiple injections a day. The extended coverage of this technology is so important to the health, not only physical but mental as well to those living with diabetes. For people my age it means we can make choices about our education, careers and families of our own one day without the financial worry of how we will pay for the technology that keeps us safe,” says Miles Dyer, a teenager living with T1D.
“My teenage son does a terrific job of managing his diabetes through the combined use of a CGM and pump. As his parent, also living with type 1 diabetes, I worry about both the added financial implications and the quality of his diabetes management if he were to age out of these programs,” says Steve Dyer.
“The access to a CGM and insulin pump through extended coverage to adults gives me, and so many Manitobans, new hope and the ability to improve our long-term health with the aid of these devices. This should prove a good investment and save money as well as lives,” he continues.
Diabetes devices are not a luxury but lifesaving equipment. Removing the age restriction is a significant step towards universal access and patient choice.
Manitoba’s announcement makes it the gold-standard in Canada with regards to T1D access and should be a model for all other provinces to follow. This announcement marks a significant accomplishment in increasing access to life-changing technology used in the management of T1D, and it is our hope that other provinces will be inspired by the leadership of Manitoba and begin to provide the same level of coverage.
About JDRF Canada
JDRF Canada is the leading charitable organization funding type 1 diabetes (T1D) research in Canada. Our mission is to accelerate life-changing breakthroughs to cure, prevent and treat T1D and its complications. Since our founding in 1974, JDRF has invested more than $80 million CDN in research funding. We are an organization built on a grassroots model of people connecting in their local communities, collaborating regionally for efficiency and broader fundraising impact, and uniting on a national stage to pool resources, passion, and energy. We collaborate with academic institutions, governments, and corporate and industry partners to develop and deliver a pipeline of innovative therapies to people living with T1D. Our staff and volunteers throughout Canada and five international affiliates are dedicated to advocacy, community engagement and our shared vision of a world without T1D. For more information, please visit jdrf.ca.
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